Guest Blog | Transportation is personal: Car2Go a critical thread to the fabric of our urban city

Guest Blog | Transportation is personal: Car2Go a critical thread to the fabric of our urban city

Car2Go, the premiere ridesharing service in our city, announced on May 24th, 2018 that they are shutting down Columbus operations today (May 31st, 2018). With 32,000 subscribers utilizing the service, some making it their primary mode of transportation such as myself, this came unexpectedly to many in our city. Car2Go continued to expand coverage and upgraded its entire fleet of vehicles in 2017, leading users to believe that the ride-sharing business was thriving.

The Dispatch cited that one reason Car2Go gave for exiting the city was slow adoption. On the heels of Columbus receiving the Smart Cities grant, the departure of Car2Go should not be something overlooked by other innovative companies and the city alike.

The article also shared comments from officials who said Car2Go would be missed but that they didn’t consider losing it a blow to the city’s efforts to encourage drivers to shift to other modes of transportation through its Smart Columbus initiative. This could not be further disconnected from the reality of progressive transit enthusiasts such as myself. Early adopters are key to the success of shifting a city’s transit culture. Car2go was that flagship program, existing well before Smart Columbus. It introduced people who live, work, and play in our city’s core a flexible alternative to using their own cars that would otherwise be clogging up our freeways, parking lots, and downtown streets.

As a person who prides herself on not being a car owner, this announcement with only 7 days notice before services end is devastating and will impact my adoption decisions with other private companies. I loved the need Car2Go fulfilled, but now I see more than ever why public mass transit is so critical. COTA, our public mass transit authority, would have never been allowed to do make such radical changes that impact residents with just 7 days notice.

If the city chooses to move forward with future with public-private transit partnerships, it is critical that the residents they serve do not get overlooked. It’s known that innovative transit models may not be sustainable long-term, but the city should do more to ensure a gradual phase-out agreement is in place before the partnership is solidified, should a venture be found unsuccessful.

If the city and its partners want us as residents to shift our lifestyles, it also must understand that abruptly revoked services such as this one will create a significant adverse effect on the lifestyles we were encouraged to adopt. Our lifestyles are built around these modalities. Many of us who do not own cars are now scrambling to find down payments to re-purchase a car by today or find other cost and time-effective methods to make it to our places of work, pick up groceries, and other daily tasks.

Transportation is personal. It is the most basic way residents connect. Transit options must be dependable for effective adoption to take place. When an entire modality abruptly ends, it creates a missing thread in our city’s transit culture and leaves users sideswiped and less willing to trust future private alternatives that can be pulled out from under us without advanced notice or a single public hearing.

Brooke Wojdynski is owner of Verve Creative and a Short North resident.

614 Interview with Our Board Chair!

614 Magazine recently sat down with our current Board Chair Eric Davies. See what he had to say below:

 

Where Are We Going? (Click to Read on 614.com)

Eric Davies from Transit Columbus talks about the past, present, and future of transportation in Columbus

By Chris Gaitten

Published April 1, 2014

We don’t know where you’re reading this magazine, but we do know that if you’re in Columbus, you aren’t reading it on a passenger train. The dearth of mass transit has been long bemoaned by more progressive minds, and Transit Columbus, a mostly volunteer nonprofit advocacy group, is one organization that’s attempting to bring the city closer to a more complete transportation system.

On April 22, Transit Columbus will host the culminating event for GOOD IDEAS Columbus, a program that challenged six design teams to solve one transit-related problem each, given to them by community leaders. (614) spoke with Eric Davies, the chair of the organization’s board of trustees, to give us a status report for transportation in the city, and where we go from here.

How has transit in Columbus improved over the past five years?
Mainly COTA getting [the] expanded levy and the additional quarter-percent sales tax has really been a positive boon to public transit in Central Ohio and has allowed COTA to restore service that was cut and to really grow the service over the last five years. And that has been really valuable.

It’s vital that COTA renews their additional quarter-percent sales tax funding, which expires in 2016, and we’d certainly like to see it grow as well, and that COTA is able to look at some other modes. They’ve got the bus rapid-transit proposal on the table for the northeast corridor going to Cleveland Avenue, and we are in favor of that, and we’d like to certainly see this city and this region look at light rail, streetcar, and commuter rail, as well as intercity passenger rail.

What are the major challenges to getting more comprehensive transit systems in town that might include rail?
I think an understanding of the value of those modes, and the political will to shift how we fund our transportation systems. I think those are really the biggest issues. I think there’s a growing recognition that we are a city that really lacks in the infrastructure that we need … Columbus is a city that historically had a really robust passenger rail system in place. We had streetcars, we had interurban rail, and we had intercity passenger rail back in the first half of the 20th century. It was a very vibrant city. I live in the Beechwold area, and my neighborhood in this whole Clintonville-Beechwold area of the city flourished because of the streetcar.

Steve Campbell from the city finance office said one of the major challenges right now is that there really aren’t federal dollars coming in for the bigger rail investments. In addition, Governor Kasich has already rejected federal funds for a rail line. What can a local advocacy group do to combat funding hurdles on those higher levels?
First of all, and I certainly hear where Steve’s coming from, but there’s some money out there for large federal investments. There’s the TIGER Grant program, and there are some others … so I partially agree with Steve [and] I think it’s hard to get that money, but I think it’s also out there. I think that part of our shortfall and our shortcomings is we haven’t been putting up those applications, so of course you don’t get ’em unless you are willing to take some risk and put together a plan so they could potentially apply for federal funding. And I understand one area where we did that was for the 3C and passenger rail from Cincinnati to Columbus to Cleveland, but that got pulled and there were some unfortunate political issues there…there hasn’t been enough exposure and information and just dialogue about why public transit is important to Columbus and Central Ohio. And so that’s why we exist and we’re gonna continue to move this agenda forward, and I think that’s just what’s needed.

Okay, I’m giving you a magic wand and you can change one thing about the city’s transit today. What do you do?
I would say if I could wave a magic wand I would go back to when we could have put the light rail in place in the north corridor, which would have been right around about 12, 14 years ago when we had a levy on the ballot for that, and I would have passed that levy and it would be in place now. And I think that would shift the entire image of this community, and I think we would be looking at this picture very differently than we are right now.

You have GOOD IDEAS Columbus coming up, and people tend to really like these things that offer ambitious, creative solutions. Ultimately, though, can an event like this generate real change or tangible results for the city?
I’m kinda mentoring one of the teams, and one of the things I’ve said is, just look at this problem through some different lenses and see what maybe are some easy short-term things that could happen in the next few months to a year to two years, and what are some longer term fixes that might need to occur and might really take a lot of energy and planning and time. And so hopefully we can find some small victories to help motivate action toward some of the bigger challenges that would really take more time, energy, and funding and maybe even some minor to major infrastructure change.

The point of GOOD IDEAS is not to come up with final transportation plans to solve a problem. It’s really to look at what’s happening now. What are some of our key issues in Central Ohio that are challenges and barriers for us in terms of offering a more multi-modal transportation system? … I think we’re gonna all be surprised and delighted to see what we get from this process, and I think the coolest thing about it is it’s really just engaging a lot of people in being a part of their transportation planning.

Thanks 614 for the reporting. Click here to check out the GOOD IDEAS Columbus Challenges and Results

GOOD IDEAS Columbus

TC-CoGo-Poster-Final-WEB

Join us for GOOD IDEAS Columbus, an innovative program that brings together creative and motivated young people with community leaders to solve pressing issues in Central Ohio. We are bringing Columbus’ brightest young minds; designers, architects, engineers, students and artists, and pairing them with some of the most important community leaders to work on real problems affecting transportation in our city. Six design teams of people under the age of 40 will each be paired with a community leader. The leader will ask their team to solve a problem relating to transportation in Columbus. On April 22 the creative teams will present their ideas in a fun-filled night with food, drink and entertainment.

Community Leaders

Commissioner Marilyn Brown, Franklin County Commissioner & MORPC Board Chair
Mayor Michael B. Coleman,  Mayor of Columbus
Betsy Pandora, Executive Director at the Short North Alliance
Dawn Tyler Lee, Sr. VP of Community Impact at United Way Central Ohio & COTA Board Chair
Brent Simonds, Development Director at Cycling for All
Mark Wagenbrenner, President at Wagenbrenner Development

 

Trainsforming America 6/27/13

Transit Columbus is proud to present a showing of the documentary Trainsforming America at the Gateway Film Center Thursday June 27th! The documentary explores the current car culture of the US, the implications of that culture and the extensive possibilities that a new kind of transportation culture could bring.

In addition to the film Transit Columbus is honored to have Rebecca Sansom the filmmaker for a presentation and discussion following the film as well as a happy hour reception preceding.

Tickets to the event are $10 and can be purchased by following this link!

Date: Thursday, June 27th
Happy Hour Reception: 5:30 pm
Film: 6:00 pm
Discussion with Filmmaker Rebecca Sansom: 7:00 pm – 8:00 pm

RSVP on Facebook!

Trailer:

For more information please head to the Gateway Film Center site. Gateway Film Center is located at 1550 N High St, Columbus, OH 43201 and can be easily accessed via COTA Lines #2, #8, #7, #18. Bike Parking is available as well as a nearby parking garage.

 

 

#21 Bus Bar Hop (May 10th)

Transit Columbus Bar Hop Spring 13Spring has arrived, so Transit Columbus is departing on the #21 COTA Bus for a bus bar hop. We’ll start the night off with a $4 cocktail at MoJoe Lounge Downtown in the Lazarus Building at 6:30. At 8:15 we’ll board the #21 COTA for Arch City Tavern where more $4 drink specials await.

A $5 donation to Transit Columbus will give you access to $4 drink specials and we will also provide you with a COTA Pass for our trip on the #21. Whether its your first bus ride or you are a pro you’ll be sure to have a fun time among friends!

Register and Donate below with Paypal!




Cost: $5 Date: Friday, May 10th

Start: 6:30pm —– Depart: 8:15pm —— Arrive: 8:30pm-10pm
MoJoe Lounge ——– COTA #21————— Arch City Tavern
149 S High St —— State and High ————— 862 N High

Celebrate Car Free Day With TransitColumbus

TransitColumbus joins the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission (MORPC) and other groups to celebrate Central Ohio Car Free Day on Friday, September 21, 2012. Central Ohio Car Free Day is inspired by World Car Free Day, an annual international event that encourages people to give alternative transportation a try.

To represent the shift away from cars for the day, TransitColumbus and other area organizations, businesses and community groups will be transforming everyday parking spaces into Car Free Spots, between 11:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m., to showcase what our community could look like with fewer cars on the road.  Visit the TransitColumbus spot on East Gay Street, between High and Third streets, where information on transit, and free coffee provided by Café Brioso, will be available. View a map of all the Car Free Spots here.

Other activities will include a group bicycle ride, led by MORPC and Consider Biking, to view a few of the Car Free Spots. The ride begins at the northeast corner of Goodale Park at 11:45 a.m. The first 20 riders will receive coupons for free triple scoops of Jeni’s Ice Cream as the ride will culminate at Jeni’s Short North location.

To participate in Car-Free Day, participating organizations encourage commuters to catch a ride to work on one of the many Central Ohio Transit Authority (COTA) buses, and/or to bike or walk to work or to a favorite local restaurant.  Other available options include finding a carpool buddy using RideSolutions, a free service of MORPC that helps commuters find a neighbor to share the ride to and from work. Find resources on how to go car-free this Friday at www.carfreedaycolumbus.org.

A Toast to Transit: You’re Invited

Join TransitColumbus supporters for “A Toast to Transit”. This evening mixer is the first public event of TransitColumbus and a chance to meet the board of the organization and mingle with other transit supporters.

A TOAST TO TRANSIT

Thursday, June 28, 2012
5 pm to 7 pm

Cup O’ Joe/MoJoe Lounge in Downtown
149 S. High St. in the Lazarus Building across from Columbus Commons

To RSVP, drop an e-mail to info@transitcolumbus.org

Come to meet others who want to see public transportation improve and GROW in Columbus & Central Ohio. We’ll also toast COTA’s success as the transit system with the largest increase in bus ridership nationally in 2011.